Cat won't eat

IvalyrOctober 30, 2013

I'm sorry if I missed a post about this, but I did browse through a few other similar posts before making this post.

So I just recently brought home a stray kitten. Probably 6-7 months old. I've been feeding it and the rest of the litter since they were old enough to eat solid foods. I just recently started feeding them tuna, and two of them were trusting enough to eat from my hands and even let me pet them. I decided to bring one of them home, so I grabbed it up and put it in a pet carrier and brought it home.

Since I've brought it home, however, it refuses to eat, drink, or do just about anything. As far as I'm aware, it hasn't even urinated or had a bowel movement in the last 48 hours (the time it's been since I've brought it home). It just huddles up in any corner its given and sits there. Despite being a feral cat, it doesn't try to run or escape people when it's being held.

I realize part of the issue is that the cat is freaked out, and I'm likely going to be taking it to the vet sometime in the next 2-3 days, depending on when I can get an appointment, but does anyone have any advice for the time between now and then? I'm really worried about her.

Anything helps, from advice on getting her to eat and drink, to getting her used to using a litter box, to getting her to open up a bit.

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She needs to see a vet today. If you call and describe what is going on, they should work you in. If not, try another vet. Kitty needs to be seen right away.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 9:55AM
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Do you have a humane society or feral cat program in your area you could call about how to go about socializing a feral or semi-feral kitten - some cats and their circumstances are such that they've bonded more to other cats than to people and yours may be like that even though seeming friendly. They could give you some idea if the stress of being separated from the others could account for what you're seeing and how you might address that - can you make her some sort of nest or hidey hole out of a box that she can feel safe in? Even people oriented cats can take weeks to make a transition.

Although that said, no matter what the cause, not eating/drinking for 48 hours is serious and does need to be addressed asap.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 10:31AM
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Kashka said, "even people oriented cats can take weeks to make a transition." This is certainly my experience! When I moved to a new house my well-socialized but very shy 8 year old cat took literally months to decide to leave her closet and towel behind and become fully acclimated. It will take a lot of time but the cat will come around on its own time. Meanwhile, I'd take it to the vet and get it thoroughly checked out. Perhaps just continue to feed it what you'd been feeding it before, slowly moving to a wholesome brand of cat food.

Will you be trying to catch the others? They will do better together.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 12:26PM
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I have successfully integrated two completely feral cats and a number of semi-ferals into my family. The single most critical thing to provide these felines is a sense of safety. For a feral or semi-feral, hiding=safety. You need to give this kitten a room with a bed or other large furniture and perhaps a closet in or under which to hide. You then need to place food and water bowls wherever the kitten chooses to hide - under the bed, in the closet, etc. You also need to place a litterbox in the same area, but not right next to the food and water bowls. The litterbox also needs to be placed out of sight of the rest of the household so that the kitten will feel hidden and safe while using it.

If you have any other pets in the household, the kitten should be given a separate room where other animals can not go until the kitten is acclimated. This may take days, weeks, or months. It is helpful to replace the solid door to the kitten's room with either a screen door or a ladder of baby gates filling the doorway. This allows the kitten visual access outside of the room so that (s)he can become acquainted with the sights, sounds, and goings-on in the rest of the house from the safety of his/her own room.

On my website I have a chronicle of the integrations of three cats who showed up on my farm in 2005 - one tame, one semi-feral, and one feral. The chronicle explains all of the strategies I used to integrate these three into my feline family, including lots of tips and tricks I used to win the heart and trust of the feral, Phantom. I will link the chronicle below. It's a long read, but you may find it very helpful.


Here is a link that might be useful: The Three Mouseketeers - Their Integration Story

    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 3:56PM
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Our 11-year old cat had not eaten for 4 days, or had anything to drink. I took him to the Vet and they could not find any obvious problems. They offered to do blood work to check for diabetes and various feline diseases, but we declined, considering his age. The Vet noted that he had lost about 20% of his body weight & prescribed Mirtazapine, which is an appetite stimulant. I literally shoved the pill (quarter 15 mg tablet) into the back of my cat's mouth and squirted water in to try to hydrate him. But, considering his age, I thought he was a goner. On day 5, I started force-feeding him. I took a turkey baster and cut the tip to open it up a little bit. I took canned cat food and mixed it with water to thin it, then filled the baster with the mixture. I held him in my arms, then proceeded to squirt the food down his mouth. Good thing I did this in the shower, because it makes a huge mess. After a day or two of this, he started eating again on his own. That was two months ago and he has gained weight back and is fine now. Even though this was an old post, I wanted to put my comments in, in case it might help someone else in the future.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2014 at 8:41PM
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